Get on your belly for better images of your pet

You see a lot of pictures of people’s dogs and cats these days. Very often, they’re taken from a standing up position, with the pet sitting below looking up. This might be how you most often see you animal, but it’s pretty boring.

Boring cat picture

It’ very easy to get a better picture. Let me give you a few tips.

First of all, get down there with your little friend. You’ll get much better images if you’re down at the same level. Also, getting closer is almost always a good tip for any type of photography.

Black and white cat sleeping

Don’t take just one or two pictures, take a lot. Try different environments, situations and angles. Play around and take a hundred pictures and weed out the bad ones afterwards. I had this little guy running around for half an hour in the backyard and came back with hundreds of images. This is the one i picked out, which caught his happy and playful personality perfectly.

Happy puppy running in the grass

Set up fun situations

Take a look at these pictures of two bengal cats. By letting them play in a cardboard box, i was able to catch a few funny and cute situations.

Bengalk cats playing in a box

Make sure you focus on the eyes

Like in any portrait photography, it’s very important that the eyes are in focus. If your camera allows selecting specific focus points, consider using this function to get the focus right where it needs to be.

Kitten eyes

Black pets take some extra work

A black dog or cat can be tricky when it comes to lighting. You may need to adjust the exposure settings on your camera if your pet fills up the frame, because the camera tries to compensate for the darkness. Also, it may take some post processing to bring out the structure in black fur. Get your pictures into Lightroom and experiment with the exposure, highlight, shadow, blacks, whites and clarity sliders. Also, make sure the picture is sharpened in post processing.

Black furry Riesenschnauser

Get the details

Move in close and get a few pictures of those little details, like the paws or the nose.

Little cat details

Posted in General, Pets Tagged , |

My Instagram workflow

I thought i’d share with you how i work with my Instagram images. Most of my Instagram images are shot using my DSLR or my point-and-shoot camera. I’ll bring my images into Lightroom and tag the ones that are candidates for Instagram. If you’re not already using Lightroom, i would like to recommend it. Only the library functions, that allow you to organize your images, are worth the price and on top of that , you get all the modules for enhancing, printing and publishing your images. It’s a great tool.

Instagram doesn’t let you post images from the web. I used to export my images, mail them to myself, open the mail on my phone and then proceed to publish the images. Not very practical. So i sat down and decided to figure out a workflow that was easy to use and that would allow me to queue up images for Instagram and keep track of which ones i had published.

Dropbox is great for this. If you’re not using Dropbox, i highly recommend that you check it out. It allows you to share files easily across your devices, such as your computer, your smartphone and your iPad. You’ll need to install the Dropbox app on your smartphone.

So i created a folder in Dropbox, named “Instagram”. Under it, i created a subfolder named “published”. I then set up a publish service in Lightroom. Publish services are available on the left in the library module. Create a new hard drive service and point it to your Dropbox Instagram folder. Mine is located in “c:\Users\[my username]\Dropbox\Instagram. I set it up to resize the images to 2048 px at 240 pixel per inch and sharpen for screen. This is what’s recommended for Instagram.

publish-service-setup

To publish an image, prepare it in the develop module, give it a square crop and when you’re done, simply drag-and-drop it on your publish service. To crop your image in Lightroom, press the R key while you’re in the develop module. Click on the word “Original” to drop down the list of cropping presets and choose the one named “1×1″. You may need to click on the padlock if your aspect ratio is locked, to allow you to crop in a different format from how your image was shot.

Dragndrop to publish

 

Your image will then appear in the publish service area under the “New images to publish” area. You can drag multiple images here if you want. Then you just press the publish button and Lightroom will process your image and move it into your Dropbox folder in your smartphoine (as well as your computer) where it will be available for you to publish to Instagram whenever you want.

Publish

To publish to Instagram, just open your Dropbox app and navigate to your Instagram folder, select the image, open the menu and select “Export”. In the list of applications, select Instagram and you will be sent right there with your new image. These screen shots are examples of how it might look:

Publish an image to Instagram from Dropbox

Publish an image to Instagram from Dropbox

After it’s been published, select the image in Dropbox again, open the menu and select Move to move it into your “Published” subfolder. By doing this, you’re making sure your Instagram folder only contains the images queued up to be published.

Posted in Processing Tagged , , , |

Lee Big Stopper

Allright, i finally got my hands on a Lee Big Stopper. This is my first attempt at using it. Once i got to this location, i realized i didn’t bring the time conversion sheet or my phone with the app to calculate exposure times. Well it turned out wasn’t that difficult to figure it out in my head. I ended up with an eight second exposure that captures the magic of swedish early summer, which is extra special.

The color cast wasn’t as bad as i expected. Post production includes a little bit of white balance fixing as well as exposure and a vignette.

Sweden

Posted in Landscape